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Faith No More: Why People Reject Religion by…
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Faith No More: Why People Reject Religion

by Phil Zuckerman

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Light on the sociology, this book is more about questions for commonality that arose while Zuckerman was interviewing about 90 American "apostates," people who had previously been practicing members of religious groups and than left. Early on Zuckerman proposes a typology for different depths of apostacy (say the different in leaving in your early 20s vs. being strongly religious into middle age and then leaving. However, it's clear that his sample size did not let him say anything about differences among the various groups. The most interesting part for me was the discussion of how reasons for leaving are not necessarily the actual cause (in sociological terms) of leaving. Zuckerman tries to sort some of this out, but clearly much more work needs to be done.

If you are interested in the sociology of religion, you will find many interesting things in this book. If you're an apostate who is wondering why you can't convince other people that religion is a crock, this book offers some insights. If you're religious and don't know any secular people, this is a good introduction to what life without religion is like. If you want really good sociological data on how unbelief happens, this isn't the book for you. ( )
  aulsmith | Apr 25, 2013 |
This book is heavy on story, anecdotes and the contents of the 87 non-random conducted interviews but light on critical analysis and scientific rigor. This criticism is a hindrance to the reliability of the material presented but makes for a very easy and engaging read. Unfortunately, at times Zuckerman's personal biases come out and he makes objectives statements that will come across as very subjective to those within the communities he criticizes. If it wasn't such a serious topic it would be amusing that he finds some God-things incredulous. ( )
  True54Blue | Jan 17, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0199740011, Hardcover)

During his 2009 inaugural speech, President Obama described the United States as a nation of "Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus--and nonbelievers." It was the first time an American president had acknowledged the existence of this rapidly growing segment of the population in such a public forum. And yet the reasons why more and more people are turning away from religion are still poorly understood.

In Faith No More, Phil Zuckerman draws on in-depth interviews with people who have left religion to find out what's really behind the process of losing one's faith. According to a 2008 study, so many Americans claim no religion (15%, up from 8% in 1990) that this category now outranks every other religious group except Catholics and Baptists. Exploring the deeper stories within such survey data, Zuckerman shows that leaving one's faith is a highly personal, complex, and drawn-out process. And he finds that, rather than the cliché of the angry, nihilistic atheist, apostates are life-affirming, courageous, highly intelligent and inquisitive, and deeply moral. Zuckerman predicts that this trend toward nonbelief will likely continue and argues that the sooner we recognize that religion is frequently and freely rejected by all sorts of men and women, the sooner our understanding of the human condition will improve.

The first book of its kind, Faith No More will appeal to anyone interested in the "New Atheism" and indeed to anyone wishing to more fully understand our changing relationship to religious faith.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:15 -0400)

During his 2009 inaugural speech, President Obama described the United States as a nation of "Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus--and nonbelievers." It was the first time an American president had acknowledged the existence of this rapidly growing segment of the population in such a public forum. And yet the reasons why more and more people are turning away from religion are still poorly understood. In Faith No More, Phil Zuckerman draws on in-depth interviews with people who have left religion to find out what's really behind the process of losing one's faith. According to a 2008 study, so many Americans claim no religion (15%, up from 8% in 1990) that this category now outranks every other religious group except Catholics and Baptists. Exploring the deeper stories within such survey data, Zuckerman shows that leaving one's faith is a highly personal, complex, and drawn-out process. And he finds that, rather than the cliche of the angry, nihilistic atheist, apostates are life-affirming, courageous, highly intelligent and inquisitive, and deeply moral. Zuckerman predicts that this trend toward nonbelief will likely continue and argues that the sooner we recognize that religion is frequently and freely rejected by all sorts of men and women, the sooner our understanding of the human condition will improve. The first book of its kind, Faith No More will appeal to anyone interested in the "New Atheism" and indeed to anyone wishing to more fully understand our changing relationship to religious faith. - Publisher.… (more)

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